The Dirty Streets of Heaven

( 37 )

Overview

Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel ...

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Overview

Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth. When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad.

Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them. You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Brace yourself—the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Paolini
"Tad Williams is a huge inspiration for me.... His books are epic, exciting, and filled with fascinating characters. When it comes to inventing imaginary worlds, he’s as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert.... Tad Williams’ work is an essential part of any science fiction and fantasy library. I look forward to each new book he writes. If you like exciting, thought-provoking fiction, you owe it to yourself to give Tad a try."
Patrick Rothfuss
"Williams does a brilliant job.... Made me laugh. Made me curious. Impressed me with its cleverness. Made me hungry for the next book. Kept me up late at night when I should have been sleeping."
Seanan McGuire
"The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a new breed of urban fantasy, gritty, unrelenting, and yet strangely human. The stakes are high, the costs are real, and all you've got to pay your way is Bobby Dollar."
Tor.com
"Part urban fantasy, part spy thriller, part hard-boiled adventure, The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a worthwhile and entertaining new addition to the genre, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Tad Williams takes us next time."
Library Journal
As an advocate for souls awaiting the judgment that will determine where they spend the afterlife, an earthbound angel known as Bobby Dollar walks a thin line between his commitment to absolute good and his sympathy for imperfect humanity. But when someone begins stealing the souls of the newly dead before they can face judgment, Bobby must investigate. The celebrated author of such epic fantasies as the "Shadowland" series now tries his hand at urban fantasy with a tough, likeable hero and a multidimensional plot. VERDICT The author's many fans as well as urban fantasy enthusiasts will enjoy Williams's take on Heaven's less desirable places as well as his wry humor and keen insights. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick's Genre Spotlight feature "Hungry for SF," LJ 8/12.—Ed.]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756408374
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: Bobby Dollar Series , #1
  • Edition description: Limited Autographed Edition
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well. Tad and his family live in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Tad Williams at tadwilliams.com. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is a Rip-Roaring Trip through the fields of Heaven with a


    This is a Rip-Roaring Trip through the fields of Heaven with a quick detour across Purgatory back to the gritty side-streets of Earth. Tad Williams still remains one of my favorite authors and he doesn’t disappoint with this foray into urban fantasy. The first thing I was surprised at was the number of pages in this book. Not the typical Williams storyline but still had the descriptive elements that I’ve come to enjoy. It’s these exact elements that really help me jump into the story and get to know the people inside. Bobby Dollar is one of the characters you wish you could have a drink in a pub with and really listen to what he has to say. The human qualities are really striking and mask the fact that he really is an Angel.
    The take on Heaven and Hell and everything in between was mind-bending and I especially liked Hell’s Prosecutors.
    All is not what it seems and this is a common theme throughout the whole story.
    Dollar is always on the run from the next baddie or Hell-beast while somehow invoking human emotions and concepts such as love, doubt, and passion. He can’t seem to get a break from demons, hellbeasts, angels, or spirits, makes you really feel for the guy and root for the underdog.
    There are a lot of otherworldly visitors and that never ceases to fascinate me. Everything you thought was real is turned upside down, inside out and sideways. When you think you get an answer, another question pops up.
    I would recommend this to urban fantasy fans. There are action scenes, love scenes, and surreal moments. It is what I always look for in a book and sometimes have difficulty finding. It really is a complicated case of Good vs Evil and you begin to wonder whose side you are on. The grey area between doesn’t seem so wrong.
    I give this book 5 stars for the complex array of supernatural elements, human emotions, and action packed scenes that keep you turning the pages and running through the book with Bobby Dollar.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    When I started this book, I was reminded strongly of the Dresden

    When I started this book, I was reminded strongly of the Dresden Files; first person narrative, supernatural slant, etc. However, Tad Williams has always been known to turn a genre on its ear, whether it is epic fantasy, fairy tales, or urban fantasy. The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a story with a few predictable elements, more than a few harrowing chases, and lots of twists.

    I never judge a Tad Williams series based on the first book alone. You never get the full, grand picture of things until later on. Then you wonder what you missed in the beginning and want to read it again (and again). I like this first offering in the Bobby Dollar series. The book stands on its own, but promises so much more. I can't wait to find out what lurks inside Tad's devious mind.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Fun and sexy, with added snark and explosions!

    This book is about a guy who lived and died and is now an angel. His name is Bobby Dollar in the corporeal (earthly) world, and he is known as Doloriel in the Heavenly world. His job is to advocate for the souls of the newly deceased towards their entry into Heaven against the opposition, the minions of Hell. In this case, “angel” is more of a team designation than a character reference, because Bobby is far from angelic in demeanor or action.

    Bobby is cynical and snarky, and not a stranger to some distinctly un-angelic behaviors. These traits are shared, to one degree or another, by his co-workers, the other advocate angels assigned to the region centered on San Judas, a fictional city located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. And like his co-workers, Bobby does NOT remember anything about his actual life before he became an angel.

    It starts off like any other day for Bobby Dollar – he’s called to the scene of a death to advocate for the soul of the deceased against a prosecutor from Hell in front of a judge. Bobby is ready to expound on the deceased’s good qualities and the things he’s done to help his fellow human, and the Prosecutor is ready to enumerate all of the evils perpetrated by the deceased that should consign him to Hell. Then the judge, after hearing both arguments, decides which way that soul would go. Yes, it’s classic opposing sides vying for points a.k.a. souls. But then things go very sideways. The soul, in this case, disappears. Simply vanishes. That has NEVER happened during the entirety of this timeless struggle.

    As if that’s not bad enough, the Prosecutor that was Bobby’s opposition in this soul-disappeared case? He’s murdered, and the last person known to have harsh words with him was – you guessed it, Bobby Dollar. Bobby becomes a major suspect to both sides, and he has to figure out what really happened before he is permanently decommissioned by Heaven while trying to survive elimination attacks from the minions of Hell. (Oh yes, angels and demons can be destroyed forever.)

    There’s action and intrigue and sex, and a sense of humor that is recognizably Tad Williams. Things get blown up. And there’s a twist at the end that I totally did not see coming.

    Author Tad Williams brings up some very interesting question about what forms a personal identity. How does a person really know who s/he IS without any knowledge or memory of his/her actual life? That, in and of itself, is a bold place to couch a protagonist. But it’s also lots of fun, because we readers get to witness the self-discovery journey with Bobby Dollar. I’m very interested to see where Mr. Williams’ goes with this character.

    Having read this first installment of Bobby Dollar’s adventures – yeah, I have questions about his past and his future. But his present is a heck of a lot of fun to read and I eagerly look forward to book 2!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    Bobby Dollar is the angel Doloriel. He works as an advocate for

    Bobby Dollar is the angel Doloriel. He works as an advocate for the recently deceased argueing their cases for getting their souls to heaven. Bobby Dollar is a grumpy angel full of doubts on everything. Things start to get bad for him whe a soul does not appear for his judgement.
    This is the setup for a story that reminded me most of the hard-boiled detective novels by Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler as well as Good Omens the hilarious collaoration on the apocalypse by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
    Many reviews already pointed out that this is much faster and much darker than (and much much shorter) than "usual" Tad Williams story and they are right. But altough Williams takes a new direction storywise he holds to his salient talents: convincing world building (not being familiar with the Bay-area I only found out that San Judas where the scene is set is fictional when I looked it up on the map), convincing character development (which hopefully delves a bit deeper in the following volumes) and his brilliant sense for analogies and metaphors. Here's one that also shows why this is certainly an adult and no crossover story: "Meanwhile she was also doing her best to drive her knee up through my groin and into my chest, introducing my balls to my heart, a meeting that should never take place."
    What I really liked was that the book has so many layers: beneath the detecive novel with all the chases, fights and funny dialogues it en passant raises major philosophical issues which can make you put the book down for a while to ponder ... or not as you won't want to stop reading ...
    I highly recommend this book to those who like the classic noir detective novel as well as fantasy and scifi readers. Oh and those who enjoy the beauty of language should not miss it: hardly any author these days is a wordsmith like Williams - able to trigger casades of associations with just a one witty line. Can't wait for "Happy hour in hell" ... gimme more Tad!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Tad Williams has been a constant fixture in the fantasy & sc

    Tad Williams has been a constant fixture in the fantasy & science fiction genre for the past 25 years. His MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN series is often hailed as one of the finest post-Tolkien epics, and he has established a reputation for writing intelligent door-stopping, novels such as the OTHERLAND books (four volumes) or the SHADOWMARCH series (again, four volumes).

    His new novel, THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN, however, is something of a departure for him, maybe even a career changer. It is the first of three (for now at least) planned volumes in this series called the BOOBY DOLLAR BOOKS, but each volume is self-contained and can be read independently from the others.

    Doloriel is a rather ordinary low-level angel working under his earthly alias Bobby Dollar. He is an angelic advocate; on behalf of the recently deceased he argues for their immortal souls to be accepted into heaven rather than going to hell or even purgatory. He meets his fellow angelic advocates regularly in his favourite angel bar, but he is largely minding his own business and doing his job (which is a lot less glamorous than it sounds like), when suddenly immortal souls start disappearing and neither heaven nor hell seem to now why or how. Bobby Dollar´s life is suddenly at stake even though he does not really know why. However, he is quite sure that his heavenly superiors are not telling him everything and that if he wants to save his own immortal soul, he just has to find out what is happening by himself.
    DIRTY STREETS starts out as a classic noir detective novel with overtones of Raymond Chandler rather than echoes of Tolkienian epic fantasy. Bobby Dollar is an engaging POV character whose distinctive, witty narrative voice drives the story forward at breakneck pace. He is playing against a colourful ensemble cast of angels, demons and other otherworldly beings. And while the books offers plenty of action and excitement, it is not all empty calories; there is some serious meat on the bones of this novel. A great, fun read that leaves this reader wanting more as soon as possible!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    A Fabulously Entertaining Book!

    THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN is a fabulously entertaining book. To delve into specifics too much is a little awkward in a review, as I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun of discovery for those who haven’t read it yet. The first-person narrative of earthbound angel Bobby Dollar is written in a style that brings the hard-boiled detective fiction of Raymond Chandler to mind, but this is not just a copy or homage; it’s Williams’ own inimitable voice as a writer and his carefully crafted storytelling that make the work so enjoyable. For one thing, the book is FUN. Though at heart the story is a dramatic one, the hero’s wry and self-deprecating way of looking at the world, even while being chased by the demons of Hell, keeps the reader smiling and turning the pages to see what will happen next--and how it will be creatively described.

    The book is written in a straightforward manner that makes it easy to dive into. There are no appendices or character lists at the end, and none are needed. Anyone can pick up this book and enjoy it, whether or not they know anything about it beforehand.

    Whatever the forces of the universe are throwing at him, Bobby Dollar clearly loves hanging around in Williams’ fictionalized California Bay Area, and readers will too.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    Top notch Tad

    I am a long time reader of Tad Williams so I have plenty of things to compare his work to.
    What I liked:
    The characters. They are well developed and well named. You love the good guys, and it is obvious who the good guys are but they are not with out flaws themselves. The bad guys are really well created and are easy to identify but are not with out their appeal.
    What I loved:
    I loved that this is another one of his suck zone books! You open to the first page and you are sucked in! The story is so rich and fun that you get sucked in from the very first word! When I started to read this book my worst fear becomes...WHAT IF I DIE BEFORE I FINISH READING THIS BOOK? Truly for me Tad has once again created something new and fresh. There really is no comparison to any other book on the market, including his own. I know this because I have read everything that he has written. The best I can do is to say the feel of the flow of the story is similar to The War of the Flowers. The Dirty Streets of Heaven has a unique feeling to the story line. I love how he comes up with the new concepts and a fresh perspectives in his story telling.
    I highly recommend this book to a scifi/fantasy reader, but due to cussing in the book I would say those over 17.
    ~Linna Drehmel

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Quite honestly one of the best Urban Fantasies I have ever read.

    Quite honestly one of the best Urban Fantasies I have ever read. This story is phenominal with plentiful plot twists and characters you care about and love to hate. Tad Williams also takes a concept (angels and demons) and turns it into something much more than that with secret societies, treaties, cold wars and most of all advocates. In fact, that was one of the things I have so enjoyable in TDSoH. I felt that the concept of the main character being an advocate for souls was very cool, fleshed out and interesting. Now, this book is self-contained, but trust me after you read The Dirty Streets of Heaven you'll be like me, begging for the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Tad Williams wrote one of my favorite books of all time (Tailcha

    Tad Williams wrote one of my favorite books of all time (Tailchaser's Song). As a result, I have attempted to read a lot of his other books and series. I admire the man a lot. He puts a lot of detail into his worlds. He writes interesting characters and he's decent at doling out details in his stories without making it feel like you've just taken a college course on the history of X.

    Oddly, though, I'm rarely motivated to go on to book two. I hope for another Tailchaser with each new series, and I haven't found it yet. In this case, I was especially hopeful, because I'm a big fan of stories with angels and demons. This seems like the perfect setup, you know? I liked Bobby. I am a huge fan of a snarky first-person narrative (where I once thought first person was weird and off-putting; I'm a convert!). I kept coming back to the book and I wasn't bored. I genuinely wanted to follow the clues of the story's mini-mystery and I hadn't figured it out by the time I got to the end...

    But I'm not particularly driven to pick up book two. I don't think that's a fault with the writing. This is a perfectly enjoyable, serviceable book. But when it comes to my reading time, I don't really want serviceable. I want to be completely blown away. 

    So it's not you, book. It's me. If you like snark and you like angels and you're looking for something a little different from Tad, check this one out. Maybe the angels will sing for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    You know you're reading a good book when you have to constantly

    You know you're reading a good book when you have to constantly stop to share lines with a friend. Bobby Dollar is just that quotable. The world(s) of life and afterlife Williams has created for this series are infinitely entertaining and exciting. Definitely pick this one up. Lots of fun.

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  • Posted October 29, 2013

    This is my third or fourth attempt at readin a Tad Williams seri

    This is my third or fourth attempt at readin a Tad Williams series. I've read the first novel of all of his series but I just can't get myself to move on the the next book in any of the series. I've found that the beginning and ending of each book has been great, but the middle just bogs down something fierce. Lesson learned. I most likely will not try another one of his books. Moving on......

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Tad Williams in full form

    First off, thank you Tad Williams for not assuming all sci-fi and fantasy readers shop in the Teen section.

    If you liked going into Williams' takes on other "worlds" ie, faerie and virtual,you're going to like the trip into the judeo-christian after life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Tad Williams is one of my top favorite writers. This book is very different from his usual writing but great reading none-the-less.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    A boring cliché of a book, sadly ...

    A boring cliché of a book, sadly ...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2012

    Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Guest Reviewer - Michelle M:

    Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Guest Reviewer - Michelle M:

    I have never really read a book about angels so I was definitely interested in reviewing this book. Although a little too detailed in some areas I did enjoy the story line. Heaven is a lot like our government in many ways and this is where I found there were too many details and I wanted to skip ahead. When a soul breaks away from the body it was in, an advocate from Heaven and Hell tell a judge the "good and bad" about this person so it is decided where they shall go following their death. This is where Bobby Dollar comes in.

    Bobby Dollar is not your average angel, he cusses, drinks, loves women and is always getting himself into sticky situations. I honestly found him quite funny in a lot of the book and that was refreshing. The fact that he is an angel but in his "human" body and an average "bad boy" was a interesting concept. After a soul goes missing, Bobby questions the actions of both Heaven and Hell and it tends to bring some interesting characters to his door. You have his friend who can only talk while in pig form, a demon Countess that he is infatuated with and a guy that is a wanna be rapper/wanna be sidekick.

    I tend to think of Urban Fantasy books as having a lot of action, this one didn't have as much as I would have liked. I would recommend this book to an Urban Fantasy lover and overall I give this book a 3 Skull rating.

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  • Posted September 13, 2012

    Tad Williams gave something of a warning that this series would

    Tad Williams gave something of a warning that this series would be more adult-oriented than his previous works. The series has no worse behavior than, say, the "Dresden Files," but that is a significant difference from Williams' other series.

    I am a huge Williams fan, and this book is another example that he's good at what he does. The angels certainly didn't fit my expectations (Williams had similar fun in the Shadowmarch series). The underlying mystery is intriguing, there are enough important side plots that things never get boring, and I'm very excited to read the next book, as soon as it's published.

    I'll even admit that this book has convinced me to buy Steve Jackson Games' "In Nomine" game. It's not related to the book in any way. But Williams has shown that the war between heaven and hell can certainly be entertaining, and I want in on that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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